Photo by Jessica CalkinsThis being the 51st anniversary of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon—the master's highly thought of classic film about a crime seen from several differing perspectives—we thought we'd head over to the highly thought of Sushi Sho in Costa Mesa and give our differing perspectives. We did this because we are clever and because the other restaurant originally slated to be reviewed today nearly made our reviewer vomit. Enjoy!
Nick Schou, the Handsome Brahmin:It takes a good 20 or 30 minutes to eat an entire bowl of tempura udon. The longer you take, the better it tastes. The soup is incredibly hot—probably the hottest Japanese food there is—so I started off my bowl by gulping down a few of the tempura-fried shrimp and shitake mushrooms that provide a sort of floating garnish. Then I disposed of countless delectable tidbits of chicken, fish cakes, green onions and tempura batter. Oishii desu!(Japanese for "mmm, mmm good.") Finally, with a vigorous puckering gesture on my face designed to show off my fearlessness, I sucked down fat, round noodles one after one, thus providing entertainment for my dining companions, who watched me splatter oily soup all over my shirt. I'd have to go with Anna. Steve Lowery, the Swarthy Laborer:Got the lunch special and there was so much—seven items by my musky count—that I ate barely more than half. The sukiyaki's shredded beef was sweet, salty and delicious—really delicious, jerky delicious. Loved the sashimi, the miso, the stuff with the black stuff and beef that I couldn't understand what the waitress was saying. I'm sure Professor Schou could have told me if he'd taken a breath in between telling me "Miso means both soup andwater" and crap like that. "You're a pretty big man in a Japanese restaurant," I said, and that seemed to shut his yap pretty good. Still, you can tell from his piece—"probably the hottest Japanese food there is" and "Oishii desu! (Japanese for . . .)"—that he's in need of a big bowl of hurt. Hey, Confucius, what's Japanese for "Shut yer soy hole?" And yes, I know Confucius was Chinese, so don't write any letters. I would choose Serena purely on scientific grounds. Anthony Pignataro, the Righteous Complainer:If you notice, both Schou and Lowery ordered hot food—cooked food, if you will. What they didn't write is that while they were making puckering gestures and eating half their jerky delicious lunch special, I was sitting quietly behind a lovely photo of a French sidewalk café waiting for my lunch. You see, I thought that since we were going to a place called Sushi Sho, I should order the sushi. And I did: sweet, tender yellowtail; flavorful spicy tuna cut rolls; and these things called Orange County Rolls that were tasty but pretty much just California Rolls dusted with some kind of orange seasoning. Sure, it was all delicious, but what kind of Sushi restaurant is quicker at cooking fish than cutting it? Anna by a mile. Matt Coker, the Happy Idle Fellow:I, too, thought we'd all order sushi, swap dishes, joyfully licking one another's slimy things, smear soy sauce and wasabi all over ourselves. And . . . I'm . . . spent. . . . The food? I started with a crunchy hand roll, which looks like a snow cone except the cone is seaweed and it's filled with rice, plants and raw seafood. In this Americanized roll, the shrimp has been breaded and deep-fried à la tempura. It was plump, tasty and—yep—crunchy. Next, it was an insanely fresh salmon sushi that was so slippery I had to use my tongue to block it from sliding down my gullet before I could chew it. I'll take Serena dunked in wasabi and soy sauce. Dave Wielenga, the Idiot Dreamer:There is a Dutch proverb that teaches that the first step out the front door completes half the journey, and I don't know if that has something to do with Dutch doors or that the Netherlands is a small country. But although I once had fabulous Mexican food in Amsterdam, I hold little hope of trying tacos in Japan. Thus, my meal of ikuru donburi—sashimi topped with salmon and salmon eggs—at a strip mall in Costa Mesa serves as the metaphor for whatever the hell I am trying to say. Yes, my thoughts wandered as wildly as the swirling flavors of tender raw, pink salmon and its sweet, stillborn progeny. I mean, I was thinking crazy stuff. And that's when I finally asked the others: Who would you rather see naked, Serena Williams or Anna Kournikova? Sushi Sho, located at 2263 Fairview Rd., Ste. J, Costa Mesa, is open Tues.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5:30-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 5:30-10 p.m. (949) 645-5502. Beer and wine. Lunch for two, $15-$20, food only. All major credit cards accepted.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.